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tv   Weather World  BBC News  December 26, 2017 10:30am-11:00am GMT

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the way of mild west to see more in the way of mild weather, but more cloud and rain come friday. good morning. this is bbc news. our latest headlines: the universities minister, jojohnson, has given his clearest warning yet that academic institutions must protect free speech. he says universities must "open minds, not close them" and students should have the resilience to take part in frank discussions. the british retail consortium has warned that consumers face rising prices after brexit unless britain can replicate trade deals negotiated by the eu with dozens of other countries. millions of shoppers are expected to head out to the boxing day sales today. but a survey commissioned by the bbc indicates that the traditional post—christmas spending spree is being eroded by the black friday sales in november. the ministry of defence says a royal navy frigate spent christmas day escorting a russian warship through the north sea. the navy said several russian vessels had passed close to the uk in recent days. voters in liberia are choosing a new president today in the decisive second round run—off between the current vice—president
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and a former world footballer of the year, george weah. now on bbc news, weather world. the team looks back at the big meteorological events of 2017, but things are not quite as they seem. this time, we've come to a winter wonderland. or have we? look very closely in the next half—hour, because all is not as it seems. so... let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. welcome to weather world! also on the programme: 2017's biggest storms. tropical deluge, floods that carry a house and everything in it. safe from the storm, near impossible escapes. and even record rain cannot
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stop another wildfire crisis in california. humber, west or south—west, five or six... plus, we celebrate 150 years of the shipping forecast, its distinctive tones loved by sailors and landlubbers alike. and, weather, but not as we know it. i will be taking a deeper look into space weather and the impact it can have here on earth. this time on weather world, we are having some fun. we have come to a company in gloucestershire, snow business, which for 35 years has been making real and fake snow on demand. it is mostly for film and television. they are the biggest winter effects company in the world.
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some of their work includes the james bond films and star wars. later i will be looking at the materials they use to make this snow. now i'm off to meet, darcey, the owner, and he is going to show me how you create a wintry scene. we've got a fairly green scene now, but we are going to transform it into something more white and wintry. i can't wait to see what it will look like. how are we going do this? we have a brand—new machine on the back of our van, we have some specially torn paper which locks together, we spray it with water so it sticks to anything it lands on. we can transform this into a winter scene. let's get started, then. music. this looks amazing.
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it's as if we have stepped into narnia. how do you create the illusion of falling snow? for that, we have a special machine, which mixes a fluid with air to create snowflakes. wow! i feel like i'm in a snowstorm in lapland. that's beautiful! so, creating this kind of snow is a really big business. in fact, you are the world leaders in winter effects. how did you get into this? purely by chance. i worked for a company which made paper and a film company came along wanting a lovely, biodegradable snow. and they got us to make paper snow. it turned out to be a world beater. so, this is artificial snow. and a little bit later on we are going to take a look at how they also make real snow here as well. this is real snow. but there is still something unusual here.
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our weather review of the year begins injanuary on greek island beaches. rarely does arctic weather on this scale reach so far deep into europe. and the bitter temperatures brought fears for migrants, at camps such as this one in serbia, with calls for them to be moved to better, warmer conditions. then disaster in italy. 29 people are killed in the deadliest avalanche in a century. but amazingly, some survived, rescued more than two days later. february in the uk, and storm doris blows in, with high winds and some lucky escapes. and here is another remarkable escape. in peru, as a mudslide churns up the debris of what was once somebody‘s home, a woman emerges. slowly she's able to scramble her way to help. but the flooding here did claim the lives of about 100 people in the first few months of the year.
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disaster in colombia in april. torrential rain sends a mudslide into the town of mocoa. more than 250 died here. in chile in january, a different problem. drought, heat, strong winds, then fire. this was the town of santa 0lga, destroyed by wildfires, said to be the worst in the country's modern history. severe drought hit hard in africa. this is somalia, where a disaster was declared in february. whether it's drought or political unrest or both, millions across east africa started the year facing starvation and famine. but in california, after years of drought, a remarkable transformation took place. flooding rain from a succession of winter storms all but obliterated the drought. so much water so quickly that car—swallowing sinkholes appeared. any hope that the soaking start to the year would offer long—term relief went up in flames,
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as we will see later in the programme. we often show pictures of the aurora borealis, or the northern lights. this is the southern hemisphere equivalent, the aurora australis, putting on a spectacular display above new zealand in may. when and where we see the light depends on the behaviour of the sun, and trying to predict what the sun will be doing has created an emerging area of science — space weather. matt taylor has been finding out about it. imagine a few hours without traffic lights or your smartphone. sounds appalling, doesn't it? add to that trains, flights, your weekly shop, even money. and not just for hours. potentially days, weeks or even months. it could become a reality. it is all down to the impact that space weather could have on things like this. satellites, shown here at the science museum in london. the systems on it, as well as electricity grids all around the globe.
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to the purists, space weather is not strictly meteorology, but it is driven by the same thing, and that is the sun. in this case, it is all about coronal mass ejections and solar flares. to tell us about those, i am joined by professor tim horbury, from the imperial college london. thank you forjoining us. professor, tell us more about what solar flares and coronal mass ejections are? most of us think of the sun as a fairly boring yellow globe in the sky. but as we go into space and study it more, we realise it is a dynamic object. solar flares are enormous releases of energy from the sun. they accelerate particles to high energies which can arrive at the earth and damage satellites, and they also release enormous amount of energy, coronal mass ejections. this matter floods out through the solar system and can arrive at the earth and impact us. you are the head of a mission investigating the sun. what does that involve? it is called solar 0rbit, being built by the esa at the moment. we will be going closer to the sun than ever before,
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closer than mercury. we will study what happens on the sun with telescopes. we'll be measuring what comes off the sun and travels past our spacecraft on its way towards the earth. and it's the magnetic fields which are important when it comes to impact on earth, isn't it? yes. at imperial college london, we're building the instrument which will measure those magnetic fields in space, and when those fields arrive at the earth and interact with the earth's magnetic field, and it is those interactions which drive things like the aurora and geomagnetic storms. will this help us ultimately forecast space weather? solar 0rbiter itself is not a space weather mission, but it is designed to study the fundamental physics of what's going on in the sun and inter—planetary space and by understanding that that we hope to do better space weather forecasting in the future. thank you. we will find out later in the programme a bit more about forecasting space weather and the impact it can have here on earth. at the start of the programme i said, look very closely this time on weather world, because all is not as it seems. it might look like i have entered an icy cave, but there isn't any ice in here. and none of this is real.
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it is another fake winter environment. paul is here to tell us how they made this. what materials have you used? we use a lot of different materials here. plastic, paraffin wax, recycled packaging material, litter as well. —— we use litter as well. —— glitter. with led lighting we can bring it all together and give you the effect that you see here. the materials that are used to make something look wintry in film and television, they have evolved over time, haven't they? what was used in the early days of film? in the very early days of black and white film they didn't have any materials at all. they literally had to wait for it to snow. that was time—consuming, and it was also dangerous. three members died from the cold while they were filming way out east. that wasn't good. later they made it with different materials. laurel and hardy used painted cornflakes, which was effective. by the time we got to the wizard of oz, they were using white asbestos.
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would you believe it?! 0bviously that's really bad, but they didn't know it was dangerous at the time. you use things which are good for the environment and good for people. what are the good materials going forward? we're developing materials like this, which is a glitter, which is made from cellulose. so within a couple of weeks or so that will biodegrade. now, normal glitter, which is being banned in cosmetic use by the government, would just wash off your body when you come back from your festival, down the drain and out to sea where it gets eaten by plankton and fish and unfortunately eaten by us again. this is gone in a week or two. it has the texture of icing sugar, but you can see the glitter that stays. what else are you using? we are using things like this, which is powder frost. this is pure cellulose. you could eat it if you wanted to, though it wouldn't taste very nice. once that washes into the soil that completely biodegrades. it is no more harmful to the environment than dead leaves. of course, the least harmful thing to the environment is real snow. we haven't looked at that yet, but it can be made on demand,
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and sarah will be finding out about that later on. now, from snow to extreme heat. 0ur weather review of the year continues with a scorching summer in southern europe. wildfires led to thousands being evacuated from campsites in france, spending the night on beaches near st tropez. portugal in june, and a catastrophic forest fire kills more than 60 people. it is the country's worst disaster for more than a quarter of a century. when a flash flood rages through a major city, disaster strikes. in august, a massive downpour sends muddy water surging through the streets of sierra leone in west africa. and then a mountainside collapses in an avalanche of mud, burying whole communities as they slept. hundreds of people are killed, thousands lose their homes. now, more snow, and your bbc weather watcher pictures of the wintry weather which swept across the uk in early december. the most widespread december snow since 2010. you can become a weather
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watcher by signing up at still to come on weather world: we head to the alps to discover how sometimes, the old ways are still the best, especially when it comes to predicting an avalanche. this time on weather world, sarah and i are looking at how they make snow for the film and television industry. we have seen fake snow, the material they use, but now this is real snow. this may look like something which came from the clouds, but actually, it came from this metal box. darcey, explain to me how we are about to make real snow inside this box, then? the box is a cryogenic chamber. at the back, we have done that fires
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water. and it adds compressed air, and the water is smashed into tiny, tiny pieces. we also fire liquid nitrogen. so the smashed water is like a cloud inside a box, with liquid nitrogen, freezing it down to —20, so it falls like snow inside the box. wonderful. let's close these doors and get started. yes, mind yourfingers! so, darcey, this has been churning away now for about 90 minutes now. shall we crack open the doors and have a look at the snow inside? yes, indeed! wow, check this out! look at that snow. i can tell you, that is soft and fluffy and freezing cold. it feels just like real snow. is it exactly the same as naturally occurring snow? it's exactly the same as natural snow. so once you've made
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all of this snow here, how do you transport it to a film set? we literally shovel it into a refrigerated truck and we set the temperature at the perfect temperature to keep it in top condition. and do people tend to like to use more real snow or fake snow? they think they want to use real snow, but fake snow is faster and warmer. you can imagine, if you lie on this all day, you'll get pneumonia. if you lie in the fake snow all day, it's lovely and warm and cosy. thank you so much for showing us around and showing us how this snow is manufactured here. for now, where is nick? heavy snow in february led to avalanches in afghanistan and the french alps, both resulting in several fatalities. sarah thornton travelled to austria, where heavy snow in the first part of this ski season has meant predicting avalanches is especially important. every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend here to the alps looking for some winter fun, but for the thrill seekers, and especially those who like to go off—piste, avalanches are an
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ever—present threat. the main methods of protection date back decades, and there's not a computer in sight. i put the shovel on the top, and i pound like 30 times, with different intensity. now, here we can see the first crack. after the 27th time of pounding... you're saying it took quite a few times for you to pound this and get this crack here? if it had been fewer times you would have said, don't ski here? yeah. here in the tyrol, they're concerned about two key danger patterns for avalanches. early season snow forming a weak ground—level layer and forecast winds leaving fresh powder around. but the team say on—piste
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skiers are protected. they have the avalanche barriers, they have in the morning the avalanche commission, who is opening the runs or completely closing the runs if it's unsafe. off—piste skiers and snowboarders are most at risk from avalanches. there are high—tech gadgets that can help save anyone caught up in an avalanche, but it's low—tech tools that keep people away from danger in the first place. some of the biggest weather headlines of 2017 came during a record—breaking atlantic hurricane season. texas, in august, where harvey becomes the first major hurricane to hit the usa in nearly 12 years. scientists have estimated harvey dropped 127 billion tons of water, no other tropical cyclone has
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produced so much rain in the usa. hurricane irma is next, slamming into the caribbean. it's getting really intense now in the centre section. more than 100 people are known to have died as a result of irma. it's september, and there's another category five hurricane in the caribbean, maria. with ten consecutive hurricanes, this was one of the costliest atlantic seasons on record. august, and typhoon hato slams into china with the same terrifying mix of destructive wind and torrential rain as a hurricane. the pacific typhoon season was much less active than normal. even so, there were several powerful systems, including this one in vietnam, in november. but as a cyclone's every twist and turn is tracked minute
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by minute, the annual monsoon deluge in south—east asia goes on for months, causing the worst floods in decades. in india, the eastern state of bihar is hit hardest. in total, millions of people are forced from their homes and more than 1,000 are killed. this is what's left behind after a flash flood in pakistan's most populated city, karachi. the monsoon rains bring much—needed moisture for crops, but they always come with a human cost. in september, the weather in space was as tumultuous as it was on earth. so much so that it led to radio blackouts. nasa recorded the biggest solar flare for over a decade. but why should a flare have such an impact? matt's been to cambridge to get the answer from the british antarctic survey. so antarctica is a brilliant place to observe space? it is, actually. it's very, very radio quiet, so we can pick up radio signals in the antarctic which we can't do elsewhere.
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we detect special types of radio waves and those charged particles, when accelerated at high energies, pose a risk of damage to satellites. in fact, they are called killer electrons, because they've been known to kill spacecraft in the past. one of the largest solar flares ever to be witnessed was the carrington event, named after the british astronomer who observed it in 1859. he sketched what he'd seen on the sun, telegraph systems went haywire worldwide. scientists have estimated that something similar today could cost billions, if not trillions, given our ever increasing reliance on satellite technology. colour—coded here, you can see the radiation belts, the regions of high energy charged particles, electrons. they're trapped in the earth's magnetic field. geostationary orbit is out here, in the outer edge, and the gps satellites, they fly pretty much through the heart of this radiation belt here, where the radiation is most intense. ideally you want the satellites to be stationed in between
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the radiation belts? there's a gap between inner and outer belt where the radiation levels are much lower, but there are periods where that region gets filled with high energy charged particles, and that's a high—risk period for those spacecraft. and that can have a big impact on daily life here on earth, can't it? well, if you think that we rely more and more on our satellites for mobile phones, for tv, for internet, for all kinds of communications, banking, that kind of stuff, yeah, it's a really important major part of our life in the modern world. so next time you gaze skywards or simply pick up your smartphone, just think how seemingly small changes in the sun could cause sudden and drastic changes to the way you live your life. november marked 150 years of the shipping forecast. the shipping forecast for the next 12 hours. the disturbance near the hebrides is almost stationary... produced by the met office on behalf of the maritime and coastguard agency, it's believed to be the longest running forecast of its kind in the world. that crucial forecast
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data is produced daily here at the met office. there was just a feeling that there was too much risk of loss of life... catherine ross, the chief archivist, showed me the first weather charts from 150 years ago. what they did rather cleverly was basically put pins through the paper, and so you can kind of see just about these little pinpricks here, and that meant they were always plotting the same information in the same place. and you can see how they changed from having no maps to very detailed maps and it was known as the storm warning service, but it became known as the iconic shipping forecast. humber — west or south—west, five or six, occasionally four later. the shipping forecast is notjust for mariners but it's also listened to by hundreds of thousands of us every day on radio 11. south—west, five to seven. occasional rain, good, occasionally moderate. and that's a flavour of the bulletin which is broadcast four times a day. at 5:20am, it needs to be
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exactly nine minutes long, so on a calm day i can take my time in describing the weather conditions for the 31 different sea areas. whereas on a stormy day, i'll have to speak much quicker in order to fit all that information into the same nine—minute window. storm warnings in october as the remnants of hurricane ophelia hit ireland and the uk. ophelia was the easternmost major hurricane ever recorded in the atlantic. this roof was ripped from a school in ireland. the government here called the situation a "national emergency". and ophelia had a stranger side to it, turning the sky an eerie orange because of saharan dust swept up on the storms path to the uk. but when it comes to air pollution, this is just about as bad as it gets. delhi, in november, and the smog so thick and toxic it's said to produce effects equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. in the usa, more tropical rain
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and flooding and this remarkable view of a house being swept along a river in new hampshire, as tropical storm philippe hit the east coast of the usa at the end of october. but over in california, fire, as months of hot, dry weather followed last winter's record rain, plunging the state right back into wildfire crisis. in december, fires hit the south of the state, near los angeles. the largest burning an area the size of new york. in the uk, storm caroline arrives in december. scotland bears the brunt with winds of up to 90 miles per hour, but colder air that follows caroline is felt across the uk, blanketing large areas in snow. the most in seven years. not everyone is a fan of snow. but if it's the very first time you've seen it, you can't help but be excited, even if you're a dog. truffle, the yorkshire
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cocker spaniel puppy, trying to get to grips with the white stuff. and that's it for this time from our weather world winter wonderland. and for highlights from our previous programmes, go to sarah, there's one thing i want to know about fake and real snow. which is the best for a snowball fight? let's find out! bring it on! 0k. they are quite hard, aren't they? yours are harder! come on, sarah! you're not even trying! 0h! that's right in my ear! i got you back! you deserved that one. 0h! sorry, that must have hurt. hello once again.
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many parts of the british isles are going to see a much fresher, brighter day than has been the case of late. and it certainly started on a fresher note through the central belt of scotland and across the southern uplands, top ends of the pennines as well. as this feature drags quite a bit of snowfall down through those parts. now showing signs of wanting to get off into the north sea, leaving behind, as i say, a day with a good deal more sunshine on offer than we've seen of late. a peppering of showers across the northern half of britain. but already we've seen a transition from a really decent start to the day across the south west into one of quite a bit of wind and cloud and rain as well. and that will gather all the while across the south—western quarter, gradually wanting to push further north and eastwards through the rest of the afternoon. further north than that, after quite a showery start to the day with a wee bit of snow across the higher ground across the north of england,
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through northern ireland and southern scotland, well, i think the showers just tending to fade somewhat. so there will be a wee bit more sunshine, doing nothing for temperatures. and then in the far north of scotland, those showers turning increasingly wintry as the air gets pretty cold, certainly as the sun goes down. and that cold air begins to interact with all of this moisture. and look at this, southern and central parts of the pennines, into the peak district through the high ground of wales. and then increasingly through the midlands as we get on through the night there will be a change of that rain into snowfall. at really quite low levels. and it will lie, as well. so don't be at all surprised in parts of the midlands and wales if we wake up to a pretty white start to wednesday. that threat drags down to the high ground into sussex and into the chilterns as well before eventually pulling away. if you stick with the rain, you'll see quite a bit of rain, 35 millimetres or so. once it's away, then it's a chilly day. a bright one for central and western areas. and even those showers out west could be a wee bit wind could be a wee bit wintry the higher ground of the moors
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of the south—west and the welsh hills. through into the start of thursday, there could be quite a widespread problem with ice, given that the skies will have given that the skies will have cleared, and it really will be that cold to start the new day on thursday. but thursday itself, a really decent sort of day. yes, there will be a breeze coming in from the north—west. not a warm day, despite the sunshine. later on, we will bring a weather front into the west to see more in the way of mild weather, but more cloud and rain on friday. this is bbc news. the headlines at 11:00am... universities must protect free speech and "open minds, not close them," or face the consequences. as the boxing day sales get under way, a warning that prices for many everyday items could rise unless the government focuses on replacing trade agreements after brexit. a royal navy frigate spent christmas day escorting a russian warship through the north sea — one of several russian ships to pass close to the uk in recent days.
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it was officially a white christmas in the uk for some, with areas of cumbria and the south of scotland recording light snowfall. how a mum from norfolk managed to capture the perfect image on her phone ahead of all the official photographers waiting to snap the royal family. and australia's batsmen put the hosts in control in melbourne, as england's bowlers struggle to take wickets on the opening day
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